Assessing Improvement and Professional Career Skills in Senior Capstone Design through Course Data

Robert Merton Stwalley III

Abstract


An objective internal departmental review of course data indicates that a one credit hour fall seminar course which allows many preparatory topics to be engaged by the senior capstone teams makes the spring laboratory portion of the course run more smoothly. Professional topics such as team building, oral and written communication skills, and organizational interaction have been suggested by industrial partners and are now integrated into the course sequence before the students perform their physical work, reducing issues during the lab component. Course adjustments are on-going, and in the spirit of continuous improvement, those adjustments are periodically evaluated for effectiveness. It has been statistically demonstrated that the addition of an internally reviewed feasibility pitch early in the fall semester has resulted in better external reviews for both the fall management and spring technical design presentations. Likewise, providing the chance for the teams to see a video tape of their final presentation, before it is reviewed by various outside parties, has resulted in significantly better final presentations. In general, the formation of all engineering and mixed teams has been found to produce better end projects than those created by all technology-based student teams. These elements and other demonstrated positive changes to the Xxxxxx Agricultural & Biological Engineering capstone sequence can be described as cultivating professional attributes, and the experience is reviewed in this paper.

Keywords


capstone; communications; course assessment; professionalism; seminar; teambuilding

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy. eISSN: 2192-4880
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